Though World Airways was founded in 1948 by Benjamin Pepper, Edward Daly is thought of as World's founder. He bought the airline in 1950 for $50,000 and proceeded to acquire DC-4s. World got its first government contract in 1951 and has had a substantial amount of government business since then. Later, World acquired DC-6s and Lockheed Constellations. World entered the jet era in the late 1960s with Boeing 707s and 727s. In the early 1970s world acquired Douglas DC-8s. The Vietnam War was significant in World's history.
On March 29, 1975, World operated the last airlift flight out of Da Nang, Vietnam, an event that made world news. Two 727s were flown to Da Nang, one of which landed with Daly aboard. Thousands rushed the airplane and it took off on a taxiway under heavy fire. When the airplane landed at Saigon, they estimated there were over 330 people on board. World did not return to Da Nang until April 17, 2002, then with an MD-11 aircraft to pick up a team of people resolving Missing-In-Action cases from the Vietnam War.
Also, in the early 1970s, World operated three Boeing 747 aircraft. Later, World acquired DC-10s some of which it still operates today. World experienced heavy losses in the 1980s as a result of an attempt at scheduled service. During the first Persian Gulf War, World did a substantial amount of profitable business for the military, enabling the addition of the MD-11 to the fleet.
Today's fleet consists of DC-10 and MD-11 aircraft both in freighter and passenger configuration. Today, World Airways does not have any 'scheduled service'. Instead, World provides airlift for customers who need long-haul widebody aircraft for passenger and cargo service. World still receives a substantial amount of its business from the military, but does have both passenger and freight contracts with private organizations.